A “Fishy Spot” Is Always a Good Spot-Eventually

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

Have you ever looked at a spot on a river and thought to yourself “Wow, there has to be a fish there!”? Then you fish it thoroughly and nothing-totally bewildering. Years ago, I went through a phase where I spin casted for trout. This happened after I had just finished fly fishing a hole and caught nothing. A spin caster walked up to the exact spot and after three casts with a Rapala, he hooked and landed a nice 16” brown. I was amazed and dumbfounded. To my total astonishment he threw the fish back while saying, “Too small” with a disgusted voice. I promptly started asking questions about his catch rate and size of fish. Impressed by his accomplishments, I switched to spin casting.

This is not the point of my article, but I needed to set up why I was spin casting in one of those “fishy spots.” It was late summer and overcast, a storm front was on its way when I reached this spot where I never had a follow or hit prior to this day. Despite my lack of success, I began casting through the section (My wife claims I am part bull dog!) expecting nothing to happen as usual. My cast went perfectly up against a partially submerged tree in the water and thankfully just missed two branches in the water. Just as the Rapala cleared the last branch the water exploded. The fish hit the lure so hard he knocked it 3-4 inches out of the water. I was thinking “Oh, I hate when that happens,” when to my amazement the fish hit the lure again. In my excitement I over set the hook and pulled defeat out of the jaws of success. My heart rate goes up every time I tell someone about this incident.

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Getting Started on Preserving Skins

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

Over the years I have made friends with numerous people who hunt birds, small game, and large game. Many of them have invited me to join them. In every instance I have said no emphatically. Most look at me and say, “Why?” My answer is always the same, “I don’t need another expensive, time intensive hobby!” Inevitably this leads to a weird smile followed by an “Oh.”

It’s not that I don’t like the idea of hunting. Rather, I know I will like it. If I start, it will be the first step off the proverbial cliff leading to new equipment, learning how to use it, and trying to figure out the best places to use it well. I don’t have the time, and don’t have enough money to spend on new hobbies as my other time-intensive, expensive hobbies, fishing and woodworking, do an excellent job of depleting my hobby spending account.

Fortunately, my hunting friends have not disowned me and we have retained good relationships over the years. This can provide a productive source of feathers and fur. One day I was talking to my new neighbor asking about his hobbies. His favorite hobby was pheasant hunting. Off he went on a long description of his latest exploits. I had never seen anyone field dress a pheasant so I asked how he did it. To my horror I found out that he pulled out the breast meat and disposed of everything else in the garbage. I could hardly contain myself thinking of how many flies I could tie with just a couple of those skins.

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Social Distancing Has Become Social Fishing

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

It has been astounding how social distancing has pushed people to the rivers. I used to consider it crowded when I saw one or two cars parked at one of my favorite spots before Covid-19 hit. Now, I am relieved if I see only six or seven cars. There are pro’s and con’s to having so many people on the river. Let’s take a look at a few of each.

Pros to so many people on the river: First, and foremost, people are lonely and looking to stop and talk. This is a great opportunity to learn from other anglers. Just last week a friend and I walked what felt like half-way to China to get away from the crowd. I had just finished fishing a little riffle pool and was glowing in the aftermath of catching a 14” brown on my “killer beetle” pattern (one of my earliest blogs provides tying instructions if you want to try it). As I straightened out my line and prepared for the next cast, two younger guys walked up. They were laughing as they thought they had walked far enough to get away from the crowd too.

As usual, we went through the “How are you doing on the river today?” ritual. Earlier in the morning I had landed eight fish during the Trico spinner fall, one of the fish was a 15” brown. They were happy for me and asked some follow-up questions. Then I asked them, “How are you doing?” They were killing it and had 10-15 fish apiece in a couple of hours. I was impressed as the afternoon had not been at all like the morning for me.

Continue reading → Social Distancing Has Become Social Fishing